The LePage administration’s education chief will be out of the office for several weeks after injuring his back in a fall.

Tom Desjardin, the acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Education, fell in his barn on Sept. 13 and broke a vertebra in his back, according to department spokeswoman Anne Gabbianelli. Desjardin will have to wear a back brace for eight weeks.

“His prognosis is very positive, and he desires to be back to work within two weeks,” Gabbianelli wrote in an email on Tuesday. “In the meantime, Tom is able to stay in contact with the Department on a daily basis, participating as his health allows.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner Rachelle Tome and other department staff are taking on additional tasks until Desjardin returns, Gabbianelli said.

Previously an education adviser to LePage, Desjardin took over leadership of the Education Department in December 2014 after the previous commissioner, James Rier, went on extended medical leave. Desjardin is a historian who has taught and written several books about the Civil War.

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